For most of my life, I have wanted to be a writer.
Yet, when people asked me what exactly it was I wrote or wanted to write - even as recently as last week - I would pause for a moment, as I struggled to frame the answer for myself as much as for them.
The standard answer is usually "anything" as I have dabbled in most forms, from poetry and short stories to newspaper and magazine articles and editorial content, with a recent foray into web content and copywriting. I also usually neglect to mention that I blog, for some reason forgetting that composing my thoughts into a 500-1000 word post is certainly a writing exercise, and occasionally produces something actually worth reading. And, like many or most writers, I mention that I hope to have at least one good book in me...somewhere.
Yet, for most of these last 40-odd years, I have done everything BUT become the writer I have always believed I would be.
Something I read today has crystallised all I've been pondering on recently, in terms of my plans and direction in the New Year. One of the incredibly inspirational writer/bloggers I am presently enjoying, Barbara Winters of Joyfully Jobless, wrote a wonderful newsletter suggesting 10 things to do instead of making flimsy and short-lived resolutions. (I am planning on working on her suggestions once the wee man has gone to sleep tonight...a much better use of New Year's Eve for me than drinking champers and partying late, both of which give me headaches these days! Sign up for her Joyfully Jobless News if you want to know what I'll be up to...and no, I'm not paid to say that.).
Barbara quoted Cher as having said that her greatest fear was not living as well as she knew how to live and those words, and the ideas they triggered within, have hummed through my skull and my bones for most of this morning, until I had to sit down and write this post.
"That is my fear", my bones sing, and I realise how a lifetime's passion for learning and self-examination and truth and well-being are guiding me to this moment, to these pivotal thoughts on the eve of a new year, and a new decade.
As you know, this has been a very introspective year for me. A relationship of over 10 years ended last year, and the dreams and plans I held for the future have had to be examined and re-framed in the light of the very significant changes this ending brought to my life. Joyfully, I have realised that I am actually in a better position to acknowledge and achieve my true heart's desires than I was while in that particular relationship.
I have taken concrete steps towards these goals, by enrolling for university and taking baby steps towards a freelance career. For every forward step I take I stagger backwards two, under the force of self-doubt and procrastination and an over-abundance of gurus and how-to's and must-do's. It is mostly self-inflicted, as I feast at the buffet of information online while shaping my vision to become a successful freelancer and entrepreneur, and I'm not missing the opportunity to beat myself up about it.
Yet I also recognise that out of this struggle the seeds of my new future are being sown, and I trust - yes, I really DO - that they (and I) will flourish. My life has been an adventure in learning to live well, even those times when I seemed to doing the opposite. Many times, the people in my life have credited me with helping them find hope and inspiration and direction in their own journeys to living well; occasionally a bittersweet pleasure when I reflected on my own situation at the time, stalled (or so I thought) in one way or another on my own journey.
Ever a work in progress, I confess that that fear will not leave me, no matter what I achieve with the rest of my life. But rather than call it a fear, I prefer to see it as a motivating force, and I have placed my own interpretation of that quote on the top of my monitor, to remind myself every day, not just for New Year, what it's all about:
"I will live my life as fully and as well as I know how to live."
Since I'm always learning, every single day, I know I will find new ways to fulfill that aim, and to share that knowledge with the world.
At 42, I can finally call myself a writer. It's what I know. I might not be the best writer in the world, or even an extensively published one (yet!), but it's one of the things that makes my soul sing.
In 2010, I will be living my life as I fully as I can, one day at a time. Read about it here, or in other places shortly to be unveiled. And go gently into the new year and decade yourselves, with love and light in your hearts. Happy New Year!